The Great Pyramid of Giza. Credit: Nina/Creative Commons

Egypt's authorities closed the Great Pyramid on Friday after rumors that various groups planned to hold bizzarre ceremonies on the Giza Plateau at 11:11 a.m. on Nov. 11, 2011.

Although the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) said the closure was due to "necessary maintenance," the head of the Department of Pharaonic Archaeology Atef Abu Zahab told reporters that the decision came "after much pressure" from concerned Internet users.

Rumours of strange rituals spread after the Egyptian daily Ahram reported that people from all over the world were due to hold a "Ceremony of Love" at the ancient monument on 11/11/11.

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Called "Cheops Project," the event was aimed at strengthing the power of the pyramid on the alignment of ones by installing a crystal pyramid inside Khufu's sarcophagus for 24 hours.

The operation, carried with people meditating in circles hand-in-hand around the pyramid, was reportedly designed to create a shield around the Earth to protect the planet against cosmic threats, according to Andrzej Wojcikiewicz, president of the Polish foundation Dar Swiatowida, which sponsored the event.

Rumors soon spread over websites and social networks that among the meditators were 1,200 Jews who planned to erect a Star of David on top of the Great Pyramid to support their claim that Jewish slaves built the pyramids, and not the ancient Egyptians.

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Aly El-Asfar, head of the Giza Plateau in the SCA, told Ahram Online that Egyptian authorities initially approved the ceremony as the program submitted by the foundation referred to an ordinary private ceremony, with nothing installed inside the sarcophagus of King Khufu.

"I cannot control anyone's belief, but I am the guardian of the pyramids and Egypt's history and will not, by any means, allow that something wrong would happen, or if any damage occur," El-Asfar told the Egyptian daily.

Built for the pharaoh Cheops, also known as Khufu, the Great Pyramid is the last remaining wonder of the ancient world.

The monument is the largest of a family of three pyramids on the Giza plateau, on the outskirts of Cairo, and has long been rumored to have hidden passageways leading to secret chambers.